History of Amorosa, a medieval hamlet in Tuscany
The beauty of L'Amorosa is like an exquisite detail in the masterpiece which is the landscape of Siena's Val di Chiana. L'Amorosa has the graceful beauty of someone who does not flaunt their good looks, who is perfectly aware of their loveliness, but does not need to be admired, comfortable as they are in their own being. This is a beauty which is always capable of surprising you.
Mention of the existence of L'Amorosa can be found throughout history. Although we don't have information on when building began, it is certain that the hills of L'Amorosa were inhabited since the time of the Etruscans. (Annotation 1 - Archeology)
The first iconographical mention of L'Amorosa dates back to the year 1363, in the fresco of Lippo Vanni, which hangs in the Sala del Mappamondo (Museo Civico) in Siena's Palazzo Pubblico, , This image depicts the battle of Valdichiana,, fought in October on the plains under the city's walls. (Annotation 2 - Historical information in the 14th Century) We find it also in the oldest map of the first half of the 16th century. (Annotation - Cartography in the 16th Century)
In the year 1403 or 1489, the accounts diverge, l'Amorosa loses it's fortifications by order of the Sienese. (Annotation 4 - Historical information's in the 16th Century) To understand the evolution of the buildings and the history of the site, and to also analyse these in the context of the area’s road network, there are many interesting documents from various ages which can provide a more in-depth analysis.
The first documented owners of L'Amorosa (the “Borgo” or small village) were the Chigi Saracini family, ownership probably passed through inheritance to the family of the Piccolomini del Mandolo,, the same family which owned the palace of the same name in Siena, now seat of the Accademia Musicale Chigiana.
In the 18th century the surrounding lands (which in the course of the centuries had been joined to form a unified estate), were owned by the Venerable Opera del Duomo di Siena, and by the Pannilini,, a noble Sienese family which, from 1575, were related by marriage to the Piccolomini, who owned L'Amorosa from at least 1350. (Annotation 5 - Buildings and Roads)
The estate of L'Amorosa has always had it's own church. Up until the 16th century it fell under the jurisdiction of the parish priest of S. Pietro ad Mensulas,, then to the Prior of Santa Lucia in Sinalunga and, finally, under the Collegiata di S. Martino, (collegiate church of Saint Martin). On January 27, 1987 the church returned to being a private chapel under the jurisdiction of S. Pietro ad Mensulas.
A very interesting document regarding the conditions of the church of L'Amorosa, is the report of the pastoral visit made by Monsignor Bossi in the year 1578, (archive of the dioceses of Pienza). From the report we learn that the church was in such economic difficulties that Monsignor Bossi ordered that the church's dispersed properties should be located and a dowry negotiated. (Annotation 6 - Church of L'Amorosa)
With the construction of the Priory of L'Amorosa (1835), by order of Pietro Pannilini, a community of growing importance formed. During the first half of the 20th century the parish of L'Amorosa was the largest of all the rural parishes of the Valdichiana, with as many as 250 parishoners.
At this stage, having become a village (or borgo), the Amorosa also acquired its own elementary school, and formed the centre of the area's social life. For religious and civil festivities, the inhabitants of the Amorosa estate, but also those of the neighbouring area, all converged on the borgo (Annotation 7 - L'Amorosa in the 20th Century)